In an activity in Lesson 4, you learned about the formation of glaciers and the role and effect of glaciers on climate. Now we turn our attention to some of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth—the result of glacial erosion and deposition. Understanding glacial motion, recorded in glacial landforms, is fundamental to current considerations of ice sheet meltback, sea level rise, and global climate change.
Complete the following reading assignments:
- When you visit and study the following Web site, review the causes of glaciation and glacier motion that you learned about in Lesson 4. Then move on to learn about the anatomy of and types of glaciers, glacier erosion, sediment transport and deposition, and the resulting continental and alpine landforms.
- For additional information, mostly review but with nice imagery, follow this hyperlink:
- In cold regions often near glaciers, periglacial environments and processes are recognized. While permafrost has been a characteristic feature of these landscapes, climate change is slowly reducing its presence and creating challenges for human society. Permafrost, present during the Last Glacial Maximum, is at least partly responsible for much of the landscape of Pennsylvania and surrounding Appalachian states. Periglacial processes and landforms are described at the following web site focusing on permafrost, freeze-thaw weathering, ground ice, mass movement, and the erosive processes of nivation, wind, and flowing water.
Remember my visit to Bear Meadows in Lesson 3? You might want to re-watch that video to refresh your memory . . .
Video: A Trip to Bear Meadows (05:40)
Glacial geomorphology has proven quite useful to planetary geologists interested in understanding the evolution and history of the surface of nearby planets in our solar system. Visit the following hyperlink for a brief introduction to glacial geomorphology and Mars.
You may find the following resources useful in your classroom:
- Glacial Processes This Powerpoint slide show covers processes of glacier formation, erosion, sediment transport and deposition, the difference between alpine and continental glaciers, and the recent glacial history of Earth.